The first bona fide hit of the year, "Hitch" is a hilarious new comedy starring Will Smith, Kevin James and Eva Mendes. Smith, in his first romantic comedy, is in his element and the rest of the cast work off his energy with perfection.
Andy Tennant, who's had a string of popular romantic comedies such as "Sweet Home Alabama," "Ever After" and "Fools Rush In," delivers his best directorial effort to date, capitalizing on a smart script by Kevin Bisch. "Hitch" is funny from beginning to end; it is in every way the movie I was hoping "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" was going to be. That movie was moderately funny, but "Hitch" is laugh-out-loud hilarious.
For those of you who have somehow missed the previews, "Hitch" is about a date doctor (Smith) who helps desperate guys (James) get their foot in the door with the women of their dreams (Amber Valletta). Hitch has a knack for understanding what women want... until he falls in love with a fiercely resistant gossip reporter (Mendes).
The movie succeeds so well because the film stays devoted to its purpose for much of the film, avoiding the pitfalls of many romantic comedies that have fallen before it. It remains focused on the comical aspects of men overcoming lack of confidence issues and does not dwell much, until the very end, on the serious romantic relationships between the characters. Smith and James have great chemistry together, adding to the genius of the film, and Smith and Mendes also look pretty good together.
The movie only stumbles in the last five or ten minutes as it attempts to wrap up the loose ends in a meaningful and cliché way. Thankfully none of the characters race to the airport to catch their true love, but "Hitch" still falls victim to a bunch of needless and cheesy love talk that of course wins the women over in the end. It probably had to be done, but that doesn't mean I had to like it.
Other than the painful and rushed ending, "Hitch" is a movie for both sexes. It is a romantic comedy, but it definitely isn't a chick flick, and that's the kind of stuff I like to see.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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